« A Cowboy From the West and the Sword of Simón Bolivar | Main | Big Love For Jessica »

30 de Junio, 2008

UMX: Stronger Than Aryan Pride

Categorized under | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

WHAT HAPPENS when the Aryan finally meets the Unapologetic Mexican?


whiteprideman


That's my Mexico shirt in the reflection, or one of them. The red one. The white of his bandanna is not a sign that he belongs to the Latin Kings. It means something else here in the Pacific Northwest.

The moment! The symbols! It's almost like a storybook.

You see, I was shooting some fotos over at the Olympic Trials here in Eugene, Oregon. At one point, I was capturing some waterfall sculpture...working out a slow shutter speed so I could blur the water, and trying to compensate properly so that I didn't lose all the highlights in the brighest areas nor the details in the darker areas of the foto and someone comes up behind me and starts talking to me about my tattoos. I didn't pay much attention, I normally am sort of in my own world when I go out to shoot fotos, and "nice ink" is something that someone can say and keep walking. And I'd sort of expect them to.

But he didn't, of course.

By now, I know his non-public-interview thoughts. As I said, they are on MySpace. Here's a sample from a man who claims alliance or at the very least, support of The Aryan Brotherhood and the "Struggle" of the Skinheads:

POWER ASSERTION (the ways in which people assert power, dominance, compete or "make someone their "bitch"")

African & African American: (physical agression such as contact sports, street fights or a drive by)

White/European (contests of daring & courage such as drag racing, extreme sports & hunting. Water sports & outdoor sports very common as mellow recreation)

Asian/Asian American (contest of wits, such as trickery, con games or "putting one over" on someone else)

Latin American/Meditterainian (popularity contests such as being a "smooth operator", the "latin lover" and low riders.)

SOCIAL ORIENTATION: Meaning what the main focus of one's social universe is or what we're conditioned to view as the center of our social universe.

Black/African American: Immediate Family such as "make the old man or Mom proud"

White/European: The Individual "its your life and no one else's, live it for you!"

Asian; The Community/Society At Large "no man/woman is an island, the more you give for others the more you'll get from them" more co-operative than competitive.

Latin American/Meditterainian: The extended family, mobsters, mexican "clannishness" etc...

Cultural Observation & Comparison

He did claim up front they were generalizations; only what he experienced. This is his honest views.

Now, I have to tell you. My normal set of reactions would be different in this public situation I describe, were it to unfold without me in my photographer mode.

As it went down, I was facing away from him and shooting and basically letting him talk about tattoos and I was going "oh yeah?" and such while looking through viewfinder at the water. I was waiting for his voice to fade away, under the rushing stream of water, which was far more pleasing to me. I was not stopping or slowing down, he was only a momentary distraction. I hadn't seen him yet.

And then, there was a point where what he was saying broke through to me. Your ear actually stiffens, you feel that helium prickle run along your scalp, the hair on your neck begins immediately waking up.

In the safety and darkness of my viewfinder I blinked and thought Is this cat actually talking to me about White Power?????

All at once I feel a distant roomful of electricity buckle into being; a tiny brass siren screams mutely in a black velvet room reserved for one.

I turned right around then and took my camera down and listened to what he was saying for a moment.

At this point, I think it would have been cooler to go along and encourage him and see how far he'd go with his crazy philosophy. But that's not how I work when running on instinct. That's a cool, scaled, strategic and sly part of my mind. But on instinct, I am like that cobra. And the hood comes out and the back rises up. There is no laying low. Just a hiss like a hot wind on stone. Just a barely perceptible sway, like grass shadow bending away from the sun's hands.

Well, that's a bit romantic. I wasn't doing anything like that. Instead, I was hammering at him with questions. I was listening to what he had to say and then finding areas of his logic or reasoning that I wanted to pry apart and force him to explain.

Fortunately, as I do think of myself as a collector (of sounds, images, moments), I try to leave the house with as much recording gear as possible. In addition to my still camera, I had my sound recorder on my belt, but because I was trying to pack light (hot, hot day), I didn't bring my handheld shotgun mic. Which means I had to hand-hold my recorder instead of pointing a mic...which means I accidentally paused it while holding it. So I missed 90% of our talk. Which is a real drag, because there were some very funny moments. Like when I asked him what "White People" as a specific group have to be proud of.

You could hear the water from the fountain splashing and people around us for almost a minute before he mumbled something about Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. And Picasso! That is, Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruiz y Picasso!

I didn't go into the problems that arise from having Aryans claim a spic as a basis for their pride. But I did ask him if part of his "New White Pride" (which was, of course about Love and Brotherhood, as well as "Thor's Hammer") was battling White Supremacy. He didn't really have a good answer for that one.

But by the end of the talk, I realized he was not too different than Prince Rudy. One on one? Face to face? Not really scary. Not really sure of what he believes in. At least not enough to explain it. Or not really brave enough to confront you with it, even when you are five inches shorter and 80 pounds lighter. (That stuff on his MySpace? Not the Stuff of his speech to me.)

Just wanting to believe in something. Wanting to be proud of what he is. Not understanding the pride and solidarity that comes to the Brown™ is necessitated by Pride like his. Not really understanding how socialized his mind has become, now defaulting to the hypnotist's will. Not understanding that "White People" don't exist ever quite as solidly, sadly, as when a fearful or hateful group is needed to be named. (We don't hear about them in the news; there, they are just "people." We don't hear about them setting records; we hear about nations and ethnicities winning gold or silver or bronze. We don't hear about them from "White people" because "white" people don't like to bring up "white people." We only hear about them as connected to a "race" of the census groups—who will WIN???—or when connected to White Power or White Pride.)

In the end, I backed off because I had him on the verbal ropes for five minutes or so and he was mainly stammering and then I was interrupting and asking him another question he wasn't sure how to answer. Amazingly, my empathy began to win over after the joy of exposing the façade wore off. I even suspected, due to his lack of coherent argument, that his tag of "AUTISTIC ARYAN BROTHERHOOD SKINHEAD" was more convincing on the "autistic" part than the "aryan."

And mostly, I sensed he wasn't out to hurt me, finally. And wasn't really even impressive. Just lost and looking for something to belong to, looking for platforms on which to spread his personal experience. Of "Autism." Of "Aryan Nation." Of "Skinhead." Of "Europeanness." In need of education.

I blame it on the USA's TV-dinner-brain fake-gold-song philosophy. This culture, as prescribed, hollows out your history and true history and the truth of interconnectedness and symbiosis—and replaces with faux heirarchy, class war, superiority complexes, nationalism, sexism, and racism. The USA's culture, taken as prescribed, denies/negates/erodes our spiritual center and replaces it with consumerism and dependence and fear. It is one big lie that makes the mind crazy and turns other people into strange alien creatures who are just like you or nothing like you at all.

Today's youth—and all humans—are currently untapped reservoirs of power and heart. Someone like Obama comes along and speaks to that and you see what this nation could be if there were some truth and heart here, some lessons worth ingesting, some pride worth having. (I wonder if the currently electrified youth will soon find that the New Boss may not be quite so different as the Old Boss, but time will tell.) Someone comes along with an in-depth philosophy and set of tenets, and it won't be too hard for them to recruit members like this young man with the Nordic scratch tats.

We teach torture, lies, war, greed, superficiality, authoritarianism, fear of Other, models of Scarcity and Imperialist patriarchal paternalistic dominance. We ought not be surprised by the rise of gangs and hate groups and violence. It really is the American Way.

The fotos and sound that I do have may be my next MTV vlog, but I'm not sure, as I don't have releases signed. So it might just be my next YouTube vid instead. Watch this page.

digg | | delish

Comentarios (29)


meep Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

That was amazing. I wish I could deal with people the way you did. But you're right, I get a sense that white people want some kind of identity and don't know what to do about it, so they fill themselves with these other fake things, like the way we substitute fake food for real food.


Jon dijo:

GRVTR

I hate it when people with no tattoos, or no significant tattooing want to talk to me about my tattoos. He would have lost me there. By the time he got around to "White Power" I would have written him off as someone who talks about things he doesn't know about. I did have some W.A.R. skins try to talk to me at work about white power: "Of all people you as a white working class man should...blah blah blah." I pointed out to them that my co workers were people of all races and that the only way we managed to keep our wages and conditions up was to stick together. "You're talking divide and conquer. That's a management technique. I thought you guys were all about the workers." After that, I think they decided I was some kind of hippie.


No One of Consequence dijo:

GRVTR

I am surprised, though I shouldn't be, to hear that someone else gets it. Whites have their history ripped to shreds by racism just as brown people do. Since "white" only exists in opposition to something else, it is impossible to take pride in it. It is a rejection, and it stands for nothing save for unearned privileges. European Americans exist in isolation, but white Americans only exist if there are Black Americans to compare them to.*

So what's a white boy to do, especially in the South? Where are his good role models? All real heroes are thrown out: too many socialists, too many real Christians, too many class warrirors. White kids have nothing left. White supremacy fills a void that the media creates. White women, at least, have heroes here and there.

(*Blacks have a special place in the continuoum for two reasons. First, Black Americans are, ironically enough, a distinct ethnicity now in a way that I'm not sure whites are. Blacks are the result of a lot of different ethnicities -- including European Americans -- all being put together. Take away the "American" bit and they are homeless, much like the Natives are. There is no going back to Africa: Blacks aren't really from there. That's just the continent that has the biggest part of Black history. Whiteness, though, spans continents. It's everywhere you are.

(Second, whiteness can include everone, literally, except the darkest-skinned people in the room. Our history, as you all know, is full of Europeans who had to earn whiteness. Asians may yet achieve that august distinction. Latinos might -- it has been considered many times (for sheer hilarity, check out Texas which had Mexican heroes of the revolutionary war and watch as men of note of that age considered how white they were; see also our fucked-up caselaw where judges spent over a century trying to figure out how white Spaniards are: general conclusion was the mix of Native American and especially black blood threw the Mexicans out, though perhaps not the Spanish).)

And the Obama disillusionment has already set in. Personally, I hope it hurts and hurts deep. I was almost offended by how easily, by dint of above-par rhetoric (as rhetoric these days is awful by default, it doesn't take much to be superior), so many people threw themselves enthusiastically at a member of our aristocracy. I have no sympathy for those who will feel betrayed. They fucked my primary -- I didn't even get a choice. And, practically speaking, I need them to wise the fuck up tout d'suite. When progressives in this country are stupid, people die.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

hoping others hurt as payment for one's own hurt/offense/disappointment probably fuels a whole lot of pain in this world...tho i can't say i don't understand the feeling in more than one area.

obama didn't quite as much betray anyone as people were, well, hoping he was above some of the usual political maneuvers. i think all the signs were there that he was far more centrist than many wanted. i still think he is a far better choice than the clintons. and i think it's always good to hope. and he is a brilliant fellow, and i still do hope he does some work at making the system work differently. but he is a democrat, and he is a modern day candidate (who is not white) vying for the presidency in 2008. so he will be doing a lot of smooth moving because he just has to. but for one, i'm tired of excusing it. i appreciate deftness and strategy to no end. but it's not what moves me out of my seat.

the O-man was not my first choice in the primary either (my first choices will never be elected, and this time it was kucinich). i think he had amazing potential if he had actually believed in half of what his supporters did. i do think he still has a lot of potential...but just as i was before this primary, i'll go back to being "undeclared" on my voter registration now. it's where i feel most honest and least self-loathing.

and i don't really know how many "progressives" i've seen lately. the dems are not representative of me and my views. tho they are great helpers, as the republicans could do not a tenth of the harm they have, were it not for the always reliable (sometimes secret) Democratic collusion. but "progressive" to ME means a whole lot more than working to get Lieberman out or working to get a Democrat in. it means a whole lot of Pet Issues that to me ought to be sleeping in the master's bed.

great thoughts on whiteness and such. gracias.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

and No One of Consequence, when you say "what's a white boy to do," i take it you mean for role models. and i guess that's the father and mother's job...to provide role models. themselves as well as anyone they can teach their boy (in this case) about who wasn't a racist or participating in suppressing or oppressing other races or classes. find them heroes who worked for everyone, children, women, blacks, browns, goldens and pinks. can we find "white" heroes like that? i'm sure they are there, eh? and if not, then i think its time for some "white" people to become those heroes...so "white boys" in the future (in the south and elsewhere) have people to look up to who looked out equally on all others.

or hell, teach the white boys about great black or brown or golden men. maybe one day they will say..."why don't i know about any white heroes" and a parent can use that as a teachable moment to inform them that in this culture, many black, brown and golden children often must embrace white historical figures simply because this culture preferences the "white" as a "universal" sort. and then challenge them with producing some "white" heroes with research so they know of some.

thing is, tho, when you scan the history books, a lot of "white heroes" unfortunately demonstrated their heroism in ways that oppressed other peoples. (not that indians or blacks or asians have never harmed their own people.) this is good to learn about too. "white people have had their history ripped to shreds, too." yeah...but mostly by themselves. not too often by invading indians or blacks or asians who took over their country or took their resources or used them as a slave class to help them exploit resources.


Louis dijo:

GRVTR

As a Mexican(US Citizen and Veteran) living in Germany, got a couple of situations like yours, but i must tell you a lot of Germans do not believe this Aryan BS, a lot of Germans are very concious of their History, i would love to see that the "US and German nazis and neonazis" do the same, they would find out, that even as a White Aryan they got their shit wrong.!!!
Just for the curious, yes!!! i do speak and write German; not bad for a vato born in Mexico, right? After all our ancestors knew the power of Education,so people be concious of what you are. And never forget, where you come from, be loyal to your roots!!
Since i been in Germany i have seen how a lot of "US whites racists" claim to be the guardians of the US Democracy, F*** them, they don't do nothing but destroy it!!!
RESPECT EACH OTHER!!!


No One of Consequence dijo:

GRVTR

I might comment on Obama more, later -- I will say this, though. He isn't worth the excuse-making you are doing, and will have to do, for him. Saying he's probably better than the Clintons is almost an irrelevancy. Think of it this way: if you murdered four people and I murdered five, am I worse than you? Who the hell benefits from thinking that way? Obama's policies are generally as bad as Clintons whereas some are far worse -- need I remind you about his AIPAC-sponsored, pro-murdering Palestinian speech? And he's helping us move onto war with Iran, a war that will definitely cripple the U.S. Ok, looks I already said much about him. %-) Anyway, this fan-worship of him isn't just foolish, or stupid, or ironic: it is dangerous. Think of it this way: whenever Obama does something evil enough to warrant the fires of Hell, ask yourself -- wouldn't Clinton have a harder time pulling off this particular sin?

And what I was pointing out was a problem with institutions. The solution you suggest -- parents should parent better -- isn't really a solution to the institutional problem. It merely remedies the problem for an individual. This institutional problem exists for children 'o color, too: there, it tends to water down what heroes exist (gosh are kids surprised to hear that many people hated MLK back inna day). In any event, I would no more lay the anti-socialist, anti-union, anti-progressive, anit-populist, revisionist-history propagandizing media's sins at the feet of white parents than I would black or latino parents. (Though -- again -- you're right if you say parents have a duty to DEAL with it.)

Let me put it this way, let me take it out of the abstract. John Brown kicked ass. He was a real American hero. Noble, courageous, and he killed and died for his cause. That cause was the end of slavery. The people he killed were pro-slavery.

Schools do not teach about John Brown. Why is that? What would a school be saying if it did?

We both know why that is COMPLETELY unacceptable. So consider the evil, yet pervasive, worldview that rejects John Brown. Who of worth CAN they honor? Pretty much no one.

This is the white boy's problem. He has heroes, he has a cultural heritage (a European American one, I insist, not a "white" one), but it cannot be spoken of in public lest one be cast out of the Mainstream(tm). If I were to teach elementary school and use abolitionists as heroes of the 1800s, naming individuals and asking for book reports for them while simultaneously condemning the slavers, there's a good chance I wouldn't be teaching long, because, in the process, I'd have to condemn many elected U.S. leaders of note.

If you're going to teach about a time where your country was on the wrong side of history, you either sacrifice your morals or your pride. You tell me which one goes first.

Sure, the black boy has it rougher in most other areas of his existence (you can fucking trust me on that), but he knows, he knows, he knows but knows but knows that claiming his heritage will set him at odds with the Mainstream(tm): other black people tell him so. But when the white boy tries it, white people will come out of the woodwork to reject him -- including family members. This is one of those rare* times where institutional racism is a bigger burden to the oppressor.

This is, obviously, no excuse for choosing racism. But I'm not speaking of the individual's moral choice. I'm talking about the options society gives its membership.

*Really, really rare. Put down those anti-troll screeds, I'm on your side.


Carmen D. dijo:

GRVTR

What a tremendous post.

"Today's youth—and all humans—are currently untapped reservoirs of power and heart. Someone like Obama comes along and speaks to that and you see what this nation could be if there were some truth and heart here, some lessons worth ingesting, some pride worth having." Yes, but I am now stuck at the 'if.'

I don't see it happening in my lifetime. I believe we are moving in the other direction - away from heart. The oligarchs want to suppress and/or mold that youthful power toward pursuit of personal material wealth and perceived individual superiority over "less fortunate people." I don't know how to turn the tide.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

oh, No One, i mean excuses in the past i've made for him working the system. he is a black man and a woman would also need to game very deftly to make it where he is, just the facts. a white man running for president would simply need to compromise less.

if killing is wrong, yes. you are worse for killing one more person than i. that's why under american law, one person who kills one person has a much better shot at less or no prison time than someone who kills twenty.

clearly, the implication is that in this system we are given a choice between evils. we all know that by now. sure, i'll value degrees. no, i won't work hard for one degree over another. i've blogged for one degree over another. honestly, thats not working hard. yes, i throw myself behind ideals that are tall orders, but which obama and others fail behind. and then i remember the system they work within. i dont really think we have an argument.

i would definitely lay it at the parents feet if they do nothing to counter the transmission of those sins/lies/propaganda, sure! then again, i deal in ideals often. it is ideal that the parent be the filter and the instructor. we know how practical life is. but that's the ideal. and yes, it's their job. how do we change institutions if not by changing ourselves and our use of them and our function within them? if this is thinking too individualistically, then i'm not sure how to answer. you see, i don't see much hope for the system as it stands. thats why my thoughts often come back to the family. i think the family needs to leave the system and start elsewhere. i was raised in communes and communal living situations, remember.

i'm not sure what to do with the rest of your comment. i read it, it's interesting. your questions seem to be rhetorical and in the service of unwinding your view, which is also interesting. i definitely take your questions about why certain things can't be taught in school as rhetorical, because i had a hell of a time learning those lessons while there and that kind of hypocrisy and falsity is exactly why i quit at 16.

i guess i'm still not sure i get you on a white boy not being able to embrace his heroes in public. about him being cast out of mainstream. seems to me that white boys worship black basketball heroes and its okay for them to say that in public. they worship an austrian weightlifter and that's not out of step with the norm. they revere race car drivers and fiction superheroes. if we mean heroes that are not spoken of at all....perhaps I don't even know who you mean, aside from those people i already said became renowned by oppressing other peoples. could a euro-descended boy not say publicly that he embraces abe lincoln? or...shakespeare? or...dostoevsky? or one of a dozen authors or inventors or philosophers from europe? there seems to me to be no dearth of europeans who people are allowed to admire well in the mainstream. so maybe i'm just totally missing your point still. sorry, if so. but i've enjoyed la plática! so thanks.



nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

i hear you louis. and not all "skinheads" share the same beliefs. one on one, i try to find common ground when i'm not needing to defend myself or when it seems worth the energy. even in this instance i described, at one point i did focus more on reaching him. i certainly owed that to nobody. but yes, i prefer to understand others and be understood rather than hate and fight.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

thank you carmen. yes, i agree. and id ont know how either. just gotta keep following your nose and your heart and do your best one on one for now, i guess. eh?


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

one last thing, No One:

not sure why you assume i'll have to make excuses for anyone in the future, namely obama. i'm just out here talking. he's not my father, or my son. i just look at these public figures and i think about them. as i know them. and i talk about them. as i relate to them through my own life or people i've known. i dont need to make excuses for anyone. i just share my ideas on what they do, have done, might do, etc. there's no personal weight on me when they fail. as i'm pretty sure i've made clear throughout this blog, i think the system is rotted. and they all collude. obama has more in common with bush and clinton than he does with me at the moment. but maybe once, our experiences overlapped a little. that's cool. these are the ways in which i feel i understand people sometimes. when we share situations or experiences. and when anyone stands up with ideals that i believe in, i'll support that. until i think they are full of shit, at which point i will not. it's very simple from this end.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

i'm still thinking on this other thing, not sure i've been answering it properly.

perhaps you are saying that a european descended boy's true heroes can't be celebrated because they ARE invaders and such? that it is no longer acceptable to say "kill all the savages" so that history and celebration of that history is left now in a purgatory? like how a "white" family might not want their kid to see a john wayne movie anymore due to the gross ways they frame indians? whereas once he could be a hero? am i closer to what you mean?


No One of Consequence dijo:

GRVTR
if killing is wrong, yes. you are worse for killing one more person than i. that's why under american law, one person who kills one person has a much better shot at less or no prison time than someone who kills twenty.

As a practical consequence, if you've killed enough people, the punishment is negligible. Multiple life sentences are practically pointless. Multiple death sentences are pointless and laughable. That was my point. Do you sit around discussing who is worse: Pol Pot or Hitler? From a non-moral standpoint you could look at their impact on world events and conclude one is "worse" than another. But from a moral standpoint it's an exercise in pointlessness.

So it is with Obama versus Clinton from a policy standpoint. Moral arguments are clear to me so I tend to overuse them. Perhaps an astronomical one would do better. If Clinton and Obama are in Beijing and Atlanta, respectively, we could say they're far apart. If McCain is orbiting Venus at the time, we could say he's "far apart" from them -- but at that point, their differences are negligible. And if some revolutionary progressive is stomping about on the surface of Uranus -- you get the point. By most useful measures, Obama and Clinton have identical policy perspectives.

not sure why you assume i'll have to make excuses for anyone in the future, namely obama.

If you assume -- erroneously, as many people unfortunately have, that Obama is a decent person, you must conclude that when he does something indecent (including the things I mentioned before and the out-and-out racist promulgation of the immoral black father meme -- amazing how immorality can never be a heritable trait within whites, despite their greater drug use and higher impact on crime) that he is mistaken or misguided or indulging in a banal political calculation or experiencing a lack of judgement. This phenomenon is what I am calling, broadly, excuse-making. What it is actually excusing isn't Obama but one's own failure to properly characterize Obama: he, like his peers is an aristocratic imperialist and he wants to do very bad things. His character is, frankly, poor -- as poor as his peers. (Though he's more congenial than many of them, that is not a trait that reflects upon one's character -- it is superficial, though extremely politically useful.)

Since Obama's character is lackluster, to be overly-charitable, these "rightwing-turns," as they have been erroneously named, will keep coming up. Since I (safely assume you won't wake up tomorrow and conclude that Obama isn't really a nice guy -- people just don't change overnight, and especially not in response to one of my posts %-] ) -- then you will use the same analysis to evaluate those future behaviors, which entails further excuse-making. It'll get tiresome -- at the worst, lefties will stop doing it by his first year in office, like many did for Clinton -- but if one was already on the trolley* before the primaries, like myself, the tedium is grinding.

(*Employing 1920's slang makes my day complete.)

obama has more in common with bush and clinton than he does with me at the moment. but maybe once, our experiences overlapped a little. that's cool. these are the ways in which i feel i understand people sometimes. when we share situations or experiences. and when anyone stands up with ideals that i believe in, i'll support that.

Then again, maybe you do get it. I can't be sure from what you've written. Suffice it to say that similarity of experience does not dictate similarity of character. If you and Obama had some of the same experiences, he could still be a complete and absolute asshole (in fact. . .) and you could still be a nice person. I shared wretched experiences with many peers and some of them are absolutely rephrensible human beings, and some are great. So I'm not exactly certain what you mean. Perhaps my assumption about how you feel wasn't a safe one.

In any event, I'm in agreement with these folks on Obama and this guy on Obama as well. The former has less vitriol than the latter, but I am a fan of passion.


No One of Consequence dijo:

GRVTR
i definitely take your questions about why certain things can't be taught in school as rhetorical, because i had a hell of a time learning those lessons while there and that kind of hypocrisy and falsity is exactly why i quit at 16.

You are incorrect. Given the will to change, I know schools are vicissitudinous in the extreme. I have seen it done on a small scale. I have seen attempts on a large scale. You CAN teach true history in a school, but there are a lot of barriers.

Families are the result of institutions. You cannot wave a problem off to families and neglect the institutions and expect anything to improve. Our "justice" system is an institution dedicated to maximizing the number of black people in prison. Surely you're not willing to then criticize blacks for family problems sans the use of whites as a point of comparison? (I say this rhetorically; I don't think you'd be willing to do this -- but note that Obama, in true oreo mode, did just that.) It is impossible to legitimately argue about the nature of duty falling on a family or individual without noting the institutions the family or individual is within. The duty:

• Teach your children some of the basics of history

is NOT the same as

• Teach your children both the basics and more advance concepts of history, pointing out links from that history to the modern day to impress upon them the importance of history itself, while actively contradicting the propaganda and outright lies of the mainstream about history, and give children basic historgraphical skills such that they can use their own discernment in researching political issues all despite the fact that you, yourself, have been steeped in doublethink and propaganda and rank prejudices by the very system you have to teach your kids to reject.

It should be obvious that our society's institutional corruption makes the first duty an absurdity and any duty the parents have -- as you suggest they do -- really has to be in the form of the second due to institutional corruption. Parent's can't begin to do anything useful by meeting the first duty, so, as it is pointless, it cannot be obligated. Pervert a few institutions and everything changes, including one's responsibilities.

If your parents met that second duty, you're a freak, and I mean that in a good way. My parents didn't. The parents of my peers didn't. I know barely any human beings, even by extention or on the web, whose parents even made the attempt to do the second one, even less who were successful. And, to a man, everyone I know whose parents gave them that kind of background were freaks, were weird, had a very unusual childhood.

(Note: Blacks get a sense that they should distrust mainstream -- white -- history, and get a few more facts than their white economic equivalents, but that's hardly the same as getting a disciplined view of the past. I've known some Mexicans who seemed to have gotten this "be-paranoid-they-are-out-to-get-you" mindset that's very similar to the ones blacks get, but I cannot speak to how Latino families all over the U.S. conventionally deal with american history -- that might be your department.)

You can argue that parents are morally obligated to teach history correctly, despite the cost, but at that point you're in a Christian- (or similar demanding faith) level of moral obligation -- that's right up there with love thy neighbor as thyself. It is a VERY "hard saying," as Protestants might call it. And even if I'm willing to agree with you from a moral perspective that the duty exists, there's just no freakn' way it is practically applicable. I mean what are you going to do, send copies of Howard Zinn's books to every household possible? Many American parents don't even have the reading comp abilities to digest proper history. How the hell are they going to teach it?

Answer: they don't. Institutions can. Fix the institution, fix the problem.

seems to me that white boys worship black basketball heroes and its okay for them to say that in public

I clearly failed, utterly, to express my point. I am using hero as for its original, most narrow meaning. It is NOT synonymous with idols -- I actually do not want kids to have idols (by any definition of the word). Rather than try for a ponderous definition, as I tried before and clearly failed to do, I'll just throw out examples and a conclusion and hope you can intuit my definition of hero:

Heroes include John Brown, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, César Chávez*, and Thomas Paine.

Jordan and Shaq and A-Rod are not heores. They are not even important. Think of it this way: if you started talking about important american institutions and I responded by bringing up Starcraft and Grand Theft Auto, you'd realize I had no sense of what is important, yes? Starcraft is as pointless as Kobe Bryant (though the former has never caused a sexual assault, so might be better to have around). These things have fuck-all to do with heroes. The fact that our society has used unimportant individuals to replace heroes by using fame as the rubric of worth rather than accomplishment and character is part of the perversity in our institutions I was saying could be changed above.

perhaps you are saying that a european descended boy's true heroes can't be celebrated because they ARE invaders and such? that it is no longer acceptable to say "kill all the savages" so that history and celebration of that history is left now in a purgatory? like how a "white" family might not want their kid to see a john wayne movie anymore due to the gross ways they frame indians?

I'm saying the exact opposite. I'm saying a white kid can celebrate Christopher Columbus more openly John Brown. I'm saying that abolitionists, Quakers, and union leaders aren't the default subject of book reports, that teachers will "forget" to mention them (or fail to do so in any detail) and hero worship of the same won't go down so well.

Stick with my John Brown example. I really don't see how you got from John Brown to John Wayne. I must have fucked up my post in a large way. Seriously fucked up. It's as if I was talking about Malcom X and you thought I said Michael Savage -- I mean Weiner. When I say John Brown, I mean this guy.

*At one of my universities, my prof. managed to get Chávez to come to the school to speak and the school wouldn't even let Chávez in the building. He gave his speech outside and the area was flooded with humanity, I was told.

Hope that helps. I'm tired; maybe I'm not as clear as I should be.


prof bw dijo:

GRVTR

One thing I've noticed is that if you talk to most people like human beings they will talk back and as long as they are not threatening or intending to do violence you can even sometimes get somewhere. I don't know that I would have tried that in Eugene, but good on you for engaging him. Whether his myspace page indicates thought or not, you definitely did give him the food for it. :D


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

No One, I know who John Brown is. I think we are talking past each other. But I appreciate the time and thought you have put into this, and it deserves a more thorough reading adn response than I have time for ahora. so let me come back to it. i have a number of things i have to do this morning. always appreciate the energy.

PS, i understand that it can be hard to guess what I 'get' from what i write here much of the time. honestly, i dont know how much of what i really think i even let through here. ;) back later.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

and its very possible that you did not fuck up your post, and i just should have spent more time reading it. anyway, back later with more.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

okay, No One, i have a minute or two, but reading over your comments, i'm not sure what your aim is.

on the white boy with heroes thing:
well, you are picking a hero for a white boy. i'm not sure how that works. you pick a hero that no white boy i've ever knew about chose or tried to choose, and then you say he can't choose him because the mainstream will reject him. i dont even know what this hypothetical is supposed to represent. but...okay. yes, true. the mainstream will reject that. (it will also reject many things that people do not choose, like their name, a foreign name. as it did me. but it remains with me.)

i say that i gave up on school teaching truth, trying to agree with your point (which is that the system has its own game to play and that game has rules that preclude teaching truth about people like brown and what he did), and then you argue me that schools in fact, can teach truth. are you arguing with yourself? not sure! but i am sure that it seems you have a point or impulse that may not be coming through in this argument, but only causing a bit of confusion.

I am using hero as for its original, most narrow meaning. It is NOT synonymous with idols -- I actually do not want kids to have idols (by any definition of the word). Rather than try for a ponderous definition, as I tried before and clearly failed to do, I'll just throw out examples and a conclusion and hope you can intuit my definition of hero: Heroes include John Brown, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, César Chávez*, and Thomas Paine. Jordan and Shaq and A-Rod are not heores.

thanks for clarifying. we have to remember that not only do we have different life stories, we've carved out different synapse routes, and have a pool of different symbols we use in our minds, different ways of reaching similar conclusions, different understood implications to each word or way of building a sentence etc.

so let me try to focus. i write a post that says this poor sod is lost without real heroes and grabs what he can. you offer that the problem with the white boy with no hero (in general) is that he cannot revere people who did things that work against the narrative the USA prefers.

well. that is A problem for a hypothetical boy with a hypothetical hero, as i've said already. but i dont know that this is THE problem with skinheads or these types of boys. would a person inclined to join a hate group or think himself superior to darkies or jews suddenly take on John Brown as a hero because the mainstream would approve it?

or are you saying that the school cant teach it so he cant learn it so he is stuck with hate groups? either way, its false. he could choose anything. not all white boys choose hate groups. or white supremacy. some choose heroes that do good things. white heroes. it happens! often.

You can argue that parents are morally obligated to teach history correctly, despite the cost, but at that point you're in a Christian- (or similar demanding faith) level of moral obligation -- that's right up there with love thy neighbor as thyself. It is a VERY "hard saying," as Protestants might call it. And even if I'm willing to agree with you from a moral perspective that the duty exists, there's just no freakn' way it is practically applicable. I mean what are you going to do, send copies of Howard Zinn's books to every household possible? Many American parents don't even have the reading comp abilities to digest proper history. How the hell are they going to teach it?

first, i'm not sure why you feel it is my responsibility or any one person's to "send copies" of books to parents. or to fix families worldwide. and i dont know why i should be scared to be writing things that approach a "christian level of moral obligation." so what? yes, i do feel it is the parents duty. hard work you say? um...so? aren't we talking about truth and changing society? should this be easy? i dont get it. you see, i dont rest this weight on society. it wont happen. society won't wipe racism out of its midst. anyway what is "society"? it is people, parents, children being raised (or not) by parents. so my message is often that people need to teach themselves, and then teach others and teach children.

on obama, well. i dont know how closely you follow my words. but i said right at the start i dont expect certain things beyond a certain point from ANY candidate accepted by the mainstream. that said, i have nothing to lose by hoping he does something brilliant, as he is a brilliant man. does brilliant mean "kind"? you're smarter than that. does brilliant mean all in line with what i want? nah. it means a person can think originally. we need something like that up in there. that said, i have my own job to do and it doesnt really entail supporting a democratic candidate's run. today. i see no excusemaking or dissapointment in my future with obama. i wear my hope for him and for the USA in govt hands like a loose garment. so loose it does not interfere with my own agenda.

aside from my joke earlier about not saying all i mean here, a reason you or anyone else might have trouble pegging me on these positions is that i dont know that they are typical. or rather, my views are a bit nuanced. they dont fit well into soundbytes, which are what is used most of the time to assess what people "get."

Then again, maybe you do get it. I can't be sure from what you've written. Suffice it to say that similarity of experience does not dictate similarity of character. If you and Obama had some of the same experiences, he could still be a complete and absolute asshole (in fact. . .) and you could still be a nice person. I shared wretched experiences with many peers and some of them are absolutely rephrensible human beings, and some are great. So I'm not exactly certain what you mean. Perhaps my assumption about how you feel wasn't a safe one.

i dont care so much if he is an "asshole." in fact, i may be one. in fact, more than a few people have thought so in my life. i dont so much care about that, either. but i do care about people who have lived similar experiences as me. in a way. in certain ways. does that mean i support them in all ways. let's not get crazy. it means on one level, i can relate to them. and sometimes, that is important to me. i would not extrapolate much more from that aside from i appreciate some of the places his thoughts come from. as i do yours. and i dont know you well either. but i do try to connect to something in most people i meet. it enriches me.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

well, it's sort of funny that i call my name "foreign," here. but that's how we think of spanish. even me, on some level. still. i guess.

my name was spoken here on the west coast before the words "USA" ever were.

then again, i guess we're all foreigners to someone.


No One of Consequence dijo:

GRVTR
well, you are picking a hero for a white boy. i'm not sure how that works. you pick a hero that no white boy i've ever knew about chose or tried to choose, and then you say he can't choose him because the mainstream will reject him.

I've known several who have chosen heroes like that. Our experiences vary. Widely, obviously.

And you are making the assumption that whites will not choose progressive or just heroes if they know about them. I do not think that assumption is even remotely fair to whites. (And I'm not known for my charity. . .) Even arguing most wouldn't is still less prejudiced than saying none will. As I've said, I've known some that have, so "none" is an impossibility, anyway. Perhaps very few would choose worthwhile heroes given the chance. But that possibility is no justification for endorsing the status quo.

i say that i gave up on school teaching truth, trying to agree with your point (which is that the system has its own game to play and that game has rules that preclude teaching truth about people like brown and what he did), and then you argue me that schools in fact, can teach truth. are you arguing with yourself?

Overview of our previous discussion:

Me: Two propositions. 1. Schools don't teach truth. 2. Schools can teach truth (with proper effort taken to change them).

You: Schools don't teach truth.

Me: Yep, I know. We agree. That was point 1. Point 2 was they can if we make them.

Hope that helps.

but i dont know that this is THE problem with skinheads or these types of boys. would a person inclined to join a hate group or think himself superior to darkies or jews suddenly take on John Brown as a hero because the mainstream would approve it?

I know of at least one white man it was true for and he argued it was true for others. That convinced me.

(NOTE: the fact that racism has more than one cause than the one I'm discussing here doesn't undermine my argument a whit. The NRA argues that people kill each other without guns so gun restrictions are always wrong. Surely no one rational thinks that's a successful argument against some gun regulation.)

I'm coming out of the South. You have to first recognize that the narrrative down there is absolutely wrong and encompassing. The South lost the Civil War so there is an elaborate mythology to honor what is dishonorable. To honor anything, well, honorable -- including heroes (among other things) -- the mythology must be dismantled. This is what an ex-white supremacists I met a very long time ago went through. It is, logically, what many whites will have to go through. There is no logical way around it. If a white person in the South rejects white supremacy (for immediate, nonhistorical, modern reasons) he's gonna have a huge void where his state's history used to be. That is, again, a logical consequence and has nothing to do with feelings. Conversely, if you smash the mythology, there's a lot more room to move to a nonracist state of mind, especially since Southern history gives whites good cause to cooperate with and honor people of color if read unbiasedly.

I assumed a narrative that powerful was in play because from what I remember from Oregon a lot of the hate groups transplanted Southern ideology to that state (with strong historical reasons behind it). Seeing as how the Northern narrative need not be nearly so pervasive, I should have pointed out that the South is my best case scenario for my argument. It works for the North, too -- I met an ex-clansman in the North whose experiences might back this up (I'm extrapolating -- guessing -- here because I didn't interrogate him and I'm not a telepath) -- but it is rock-solid for the South.

i do feel it is the parents duty. hard work you say?

No, damn near impossible. May as well blame poor people for not being able to spin straw from gold. If --

a) a parent believes a set of lies
and
b) that parent hasn't the discernment to analyze them
and
c) said discernment cannot be acquired due to outside propaganda

then it follows that the parent is close to physically incapable of teaching the truth of that particular matter to his or her children. I don't see how you can agree with me that this work is nigh-insurmountable for the parent but the duty has the same moral force.

If I can't swim and I see a man drowning far out in deep ocean, do I have a moral duty to swim out and attempt rescue? Probably not, and if so, it is an extremely weak one.

So it is here.

i dont get it. you see, i dont rest this weight on society. it wont happen. society won't wipe racism out of its midst.

We disagree severely. We have already had mass movements which had severely undermined racism in this country. We've had backlashes, to be sure, but that further serves to show that there is a point of control within the mass of humanity that makes up our citizenry. We'll just agree to disagree here, I think. I just can't wrap my head around how one can be aware of the Civil Rights movement and its successes and then argue society can't be changed at all. You'd have to start a new thread to discuss that, I'm betting. Hell, I knew, personally knew, individual white people whose perspectives changed due to the Movement. And Jim Crow is gone. That's rather nice. If you want to argue that there will always be racists, well, that's an irrelevancy. There will always be murderers, but I can point to a nearly infinite number of places where the murder rate has been reduced due to public policy. . . and increased because of the same. There will be always be poverty, but you don't stop fighting it on a mass scale. Same with disease. We're really coming from two very, very different worlds.

so my message is often that people need to teach themselves, and then teach others and teach children.

Not everyone can. One example out of what may be an infinite number: blacks in the U.S. have had traditionally poor education. Some blacks taught themselves many academic subjects. Most couldn't -- just like most humans couldn't given identical social or economic problems of blacks. It occured to some black people to start creating black colleges to ameliorate this problem. Long story short: it worked. (We dispense with the status of _modern_ black colleges as irrelevant.)

So here's the counter to your assertion:
• Most blacks could not teach themselves x, y or z.
• Blacks changed society, just a little, to provide for the teaching of x, y, and z by society.
• Blacks were no longer as dependent upon themselves or their families to learn x, y, and z.
• As a result, more blacks than before learned x, y, and z.

Whatever society is, it is NOT just a set of nuclear families. (And do note that "family" is also ambiguous.) So with that in mind, I say that the sole and complete responsibility for educating youth in matters moral and historical DOES NOT lie with the family because to lay it there results in a practical near-impossibility (the swimming analogy, above) and you can't have a strong moral imperative in area without power in that area. Society, however -- that group of individuals that includes everyone besides a given family -- has oodles and oodles of power and can educate kids with more efficacy. And there the moral imperative prerequisite -- power -- is met. And we have historical examples (I used black colleges, but I could have used the entire U.S. public education system from its inception) that prove that this power is real.

So there you have it. Families have some responsibility, but the weight of it varies from family to family depending upon circumstance, and it's foolish and possibly morally questionable to rely on families to educate kids on some matters when we know society can.


No One of Consequence dijo:

GRVTR

With Obama, I'd say we've learned each others' perspectives. I take personal experience as a mere detail. I've had enough personal tragedies to write a novel, as have many of us, but I have terribly little in common with many of my longsuffering peers. I meet a person where she is; I do not discuss matters with shades of her past. The chances of me getting along with or fitting in with someone because of similarity of experience are, frankly, zero -- I've learned from merciless experience. It's values, virtues, morals, and actions that pretty much run my scheme for evaluating other human beings. Obama's past has all the fascination of Obama's shoe size.

As a practical consequence, I end up in strange, very diverse crowds at parties.

But, anyway, when evaluating a pol, experience means dick, in my very unhumble opinion, save where it has predictive factor. And, guess what, it pretty much never does. Recent actions, financial statements, and rhetorical tactics tells volumes. I neither hope nor despair with any pol, and I find Obama especially laughable. (What I mean is, I can call him an asshole without venom or malice; I simply do not think he deserves much weight upon my psyche.) What I am actually more concerned about was the weakness of the public to his methods. It's just practical. The voting public can royally screw me over, so their stupidity is of great personal concern, especially if there's a chance that they could be taught to be less stupid. (Why? Well, remember that as power increases, moral responsibility increases. . .)

Hope that helps.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

well...i am tempted to go round one more time, but i don't see a point. or rather, it doesn't make me unhappy to disagree with you. although honestly, what i mostly find distressing is this habit of your writing "hope that helps"! don't know why. just feels sort of...dismissive or condescending. but i'm sure it's just one of those internet things where tone doesn't travel well.

anyway. i do appreciate you taking the time. i guess that you can blame who you want, i'll blame who i want, you change the schools and i'll focus on the children (and my damn blog!) and in one hundred years we'll both be dancing in the dust with the second law.

peace.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

ps, you are very quick to mischaracterize my statements and then build a baffled wall of assumption right atop that. its tiring. especially because what you draw from my statements is really a rather dim picture of my mind.

but i bet we'd do better with voice.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

one more thing—unless i come back again—i appreciate your thinking, and i appreciate you taking the time to talk here. i do. i have to force myself to slow down (out of respect) because i personally get very frustrated with this sort of thing. i'm famous for avoiding threadwars and long protracted discussions like this. its not fair to them. or me. i get too much energy and my hands suddenly feel like they are stones falling over the keyboard, i can't sit still. i'm a quick talker, i get tired of reading a screen too long when it feels so dry. like i'm wading through one of my books on ethical conundrum and moral philosophy. it doesn't mean i don't love thoughtful discussions, but when they get this academic...or this involved, to be less accusatory, i'd rather hear people. and speak instead of type.

i will think on what your main points are. perhaps they will bear fruit in my mind soon.

i wonder. if society is where the moral onus lies, then...is it then empowered or obligated to enforce those "improvements"? and who decides all these values? what makes people better off? you and me? me? i hope it's me.

ps, your distillations of what i intend and think are (again, i say) disappointing at times. maybe that's what inspires me to spend more time on unraveling it, though. so it's all good.

you have spent most of your time in the south? that is definitely a setting to which i can't really relate. i spent a few years in miami beach (not the south, clearly), and in a number of different states...mostly on the east coast, north east. some midwest, some pacific northwest around here. but i admit total ignorance on what the southern experience/mindset/environment might be like.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

i sort of crack myself up. i like that about me.


No One of Consequence dijo:

GRVTR

"Hope that helps" was added because I felt I was saying the same thing over and over again. This happens from time to time on the web to me but it's not an absolute, so I don't put it all down on me. It's weird because I feel like I'm in a non-argument where I'll say X and Y, the other person will ignore Y, I'll mention Y again, and they'll ignore it again, no matter how many times I say Y. And THAT feels condensending to me. :-) It's like I'm working hard and yet being ignored.

NOTE: I'm not saying you were trying to ignore me. I am making no accusations here, I can't stress that enough. It _feels_ that way due to one thing or another.

Worse, like you, I speak fast. And I think fast. And I type VERY quickly. I have to stop and review my posts after I'm done. I usually spell-check them. It really, really sucks to write a page to support a complex point that insults no one and edifies everyone possible then have 50% of it ignored by the next person's response. Or that's what it feels like from my end. What's happening can be very different. And saying "see my original post" doesn't work, I've learned over the years.

But, like you, we both know that the web obscures things. (I've seen e-mail ambiguity destroy friendships. Okay, the friendships were lackluster to start, but the web did punch them up good.) So I don't get frustrated until ad hominems start popping out. Some points simply aren't going to be expressed over the web, no matter how you try.

ps, you are very quick to mischaracterize my statements and then build a baffled wall of assumption right atop that. its tiring. especially because what you draw from my statements is really a rather dim picture of my mind. but i bet we'd do better with voice. (Emphasis mine.)

I agree. You felt I was mischaracterizing your statements: I felt I was drawing conclusions. I still can't see where I mischaracterized -- I acknowledged possible error with Obama stuff because I can't read your mind. That's the wonder of the web -- we can say anything we want, badly. %-) And, as I mentioned, I felt that things I said clearly were being ignored. I write and think very, very, very meticulously: if I say it or see you say it I take it as important and analyze the implications. That's why I quote so much. That works with some people and not with others and there's simply no easy way around it. We can both be right and we can't tell.

And, hey, we may have different interests. Morals are COMPLETELY enthralling to me. NEVER dry. And they are sure as hell never academic -- to me. But that's how I think and live. Bouncing perspectives about one politician or policy or another and NOT asking "so what _should_ be?" is bullshitting to me. That seems academic to me unless there's a "should". So we see the same issue and start talking about different things, then we start talking past each other.

Hypothetical: I have a friend who sees a crying child and thinks it a poignant little tragedy and she'll evoke scenes from her own childhood. I see the child and I see needless suffering resulting from humans making constant mistakes in concert and ask what can be done. If she says "that kid needs a hug" and I say "we gotta get that kids' father into rehab" we're both right. There isn't right and wrong there. It's "what's on your heart," as one of my relatives would say. (I'm really generalizing by the way. I don't depersonalize every little kid I meet.)

i wonder. if society is where the moral onus lies, then...is it then empowered or obligated to enforce those "improvements"? and who decides all these values? what makes people better off? you and me? me? i hope it's me.

I think you're right. Though society may have a burden it's expressed via individuals. Actually, there's an example of this from Silber I read recently. A German saved 300 people from Nazis by NOT speaking out against them during their rise to power and then acting surreptitiously to save them. Nevertheless, he says that he could have saved 3 million by speaking out, to the amazement of his American interviewer. The obligation of society meets the obligation of the individual It's a hard thing to explain and I don't want to write another treatise (and you don't want me to) but the upshot is I think you're right.

Here's the link. I think it's good, but feel free ignore Silber's stuff if you like. I'm really trying to point the quotation; do a find for "We all opposed them, very quietly." It's an excerpt from They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45.

I was in Oregon and the South much of my life. The South is. . . different. Very, very different. Reeeeeal short version: racism in the North was useful. Racism in the South was the Universe.

Okay, I just deleted a paragraph. I'm stopping there. Really. It's enough to say the South is different.

But I read your blog because, among other things, most of the Latinos I knew were Mexicans (much of my family would have said Mes'can) in one state. You help broaden my view.* Thanks for tolerating me.

*Plus, I kinda miss Oregon and like hearing about it.

Happy 4th to all!


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR
"Hope that helps" was added because I felt I was saying the same thing over and over again. This happens from time to time on the web to me but it's not an absolute, so I don't put it all down on me. It's weird because I feel like I'm in a non-argument where I'll say X and Y, the other person will ignore Y, I'll mention Y again, and they'll ignore it again, no matter how many times I say Y. And THAT feels condensending to me. :-) It's like I'm working hard and yet being ignored.

i understand. but the alternative is to answer every single point made...and even then, we might disagree on what points are being made. and after a while of going point for point, i end up saying to myself "what the hell am i taking all this time for? what are we really talking about?" and if i don't know? then i feel i am spending too much time on it. wasting time.

i guessed as much with the "hope that helps." the internet strips so many signifiers and offers a stack of text. it resembles nothing like communication, but a book in front of you. with an author awaiting. sometimes when i walk the streets of a city, a person will hand me a flyer. i know they have to do a job so sometimes i take it. but i rarely read each word.

i use many levels of communication when i talk. body, tone, volume...we all do of course. but i get very passionate when my interest is tapped into. its at those moments that the keyboard feels like a 2mm funnel i'm trying to push a swimming pool into. my own family has been known to think i'm upset from the next room and shouting. "what's wrong with ---"? my gpa said one day and my aunt said (i use "gpa" and "aunt" not abuelo and tia because this is not the mexican side of my family) "he's not mad, that's just how he talks".

also, the text stack conversation implies a linear sense that doesn't mesh well with me all the time. in otherwords, my dialogue on the net tends to be a bit superficial. the posts i write in depth, with much thought often. that's just me in my mind. bang, i post it. i love when people talk back and forth. i dont always get in the mix. the frustrations you and i found in doing so are one of the reasons why.

but after reading through your comments, i realized you were, as you said, being very meticulous. and that i wasnt really being fair to that.

You felt I was mischaracterizing your statements: I felt I was drawing conclusions.

here's one of those cases, as you noted, where we may both be right. you were drawing conclusions, correct. but i disagree often with where you went with them. por ejemplo: i said society won't wipe racism out of its midst. and what i meant was that society is made of people, not some big block of goo that acts on its own behalf. but you read it as me saying "society will never change." first of all, even if i meant it wont do this in my lifetime, i did not say "never." you see? you pasted on a very extreme and uncharitable conclusion to my statement. i see that and just sigh and dont even want to bother. not because of you personally (cant be, i dont know you), but just because i DO understand the limitations of this medium in relation to how we are trying to use it here, and in one brief second i flash fwd to the aching wrists, the million words, the laborious effort of spelling out each and every possible branch of thought or implication....and i just tire. and if i can't answer why i'd really want to put so much time and effort into the conversation...i don't bother.

sometimes people just like to talk. i don't like to do that online. i need to have a very good reason. i know this sounds insulting. i don't know how else to put it. but i guess i've had a lot of people throw convoluted, distracting text at me, i'm usually working a few jobs at once (i work for myself), i have blogs to keep up and blogs to build, and a child here and if i give up a half hour to do text stacks, that is not a small thing. that is actually a choice, and it means something else must be sacrificed. so it took me a while to see your words were not useless to engage, and in fact required closer attention if i were going to be respectful. which i am in this blog by default. usually. at least to readers i've seen around a while.

And, hey, we may have different interests. Morals are COMPLETELY enthralling to me. NEVER dry. And they are sure as hell never academic -- to me. But that's how I think and live. Bouncing perspectives about one politician or policy or another and NOT asking "so what _should_ be?" is bullshitting to me. That seems academic to me unless there's a "should". So we see the same issue and start talking about different things, then we start talking past each other.

morals are interesting to me. but many things i need to think on. i dont have a thought or answer on the spot. text-stack conversations generally assume you do. and morals in text-stack conversations are dry to me. doesnt mean morals dont interest me!

then again, i am also known to ditch conversations at parties or gatherings if i feel someone is just tugging their own ego or being pretentious or playing Intellectual. i used to do a lot of those types of talks. while i play a very cocky sort here online, i'm really not as cocky as i used to be. in the More Cocky days, i was a vortex of these types of conversations. in my old age (i'm laughing...i'm not yet 40 but it's old next to the Old Cocky Days) i've become much more simple. MUCH more simple. i just do. i live, i think as i do, i live by my heart. i know what is right and wrong when i meet someone and act ways. but i dont find much joy in talking and talking and talking about it all.

i never expected to get to this place. and of course i understand by saying this it seems to imply i am evolved and you are back in my teen days. that is ludicrous and i mean nothing so disrespectful. i just mean i am in a place now where i struggle to find good reasons to spend days on a long texty conversation.

it's your line about racism being "useful" in the PNW that really interests me here.

i'm not tolerating you. i tolerate nobody. i'm not a tolerator. you help me broaden my view, too. so thank you.


Malicia dijo:

GRVTR

I have to add a thought about heroes.

Every time I admire someone that I don't actually know, esepcially from a much older era in time where society was completely different, I find out about things they did or said that don't sound so great to me.

Even if you make someone from today your hero, people aren't perfect and if you don't know the person well you'll be confused and dissapointed.

That's why I like Nez's idea of family being the place to learn these lessons. My YiaYia, my Grandmother, wasn't perfect but she's my hero for many reasons. As I get older I appreciate why she did what she did and I can put everything into perspective. I can do this easily because I actually knew her and what I don't know I have family and others that can fill in. She was a loving mother and wife, and also a schoolteacher. She got her masters degree, her career was fulfilling to her, she needed to use her brain power, and she was never ashamed to show her intelligence and leadership skills in the public sphere. She went back and volunteered at schools until almost the end of her life, as well.

Despite all that, I got the feeling that what she was most proud of is her family. She is what I think of when I think of unconditional love, and I know she is still proud of me from wherever she is now in the great beyond. I remember the happy summers I would spend at my grandparents as a kid, and how she helped take care of me which allowed my mom some much needed time to take care of herself.

As I get older things change. Mom relates stories of her growing up with YiaYia as a parent that weren't so perfect. I remember one bad period when my YiaYia first got sick and was unchracteristically cranky. She's still my hero, but she's not the superhero I thought she was when I was a kid.

I still think I've learned more valuable lessons from her than from anyone else. Mostly the importance of love and family demonstrated by how she took care of me. And she took care of herself, doing things she wanted to do, but even her job was helping other people. It helped herself too, to make her feel like she was using her talents for a good purpose. She was beautiful and smart, like I said I thought she was superwoman when I was a kid, but she demonstrated by her actions that what she did with it is what made those qualities meaningful.

I think everyone should have a hero that is someone they actually know at that level because otherwise when you find out they aren't perfect and have all these questions and doubts about the lessons you learned...where are you going to go? Nez's blog and the like helps but having actual support day to day is so important.